Khaby Lame is the king of TikTok

How a laid-off factory worker snagged the TikTok crown from Charli D’Amelio.

Instagram’s most followed accounts belong to folks like Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylie Jenner, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Khaby Lame is the king of TikTok

TikTok’s belong to Bella Poarch, Charli D’Amelio, and Khaby Lame — a 22-year-old Senegalese creator with 145m followers.

Last week, Lame passed D’Amelio for the title of most-followed account, a title she’s held for years.

What’s Lame’s story?

In March 2020, after Lame lost his job working at an Italian factory, his father insisted he apply for a new one. Instead, he started posting videos to TikTok, per The New York Times.

In his videos, Lame often pokes fun at elaborate life hacks and trends from the perspective of the Everyman. Besides his content theme, differences between Lame and other top TikTokers include:

  • Production value: While many top TikTokers have embraced high-quality production, many of Lame’s videos are filmed in his bedroom with poor lighting.
  • Relatability: While many influencers strive for aspirational appeal, Lame resonates with viewers by being relatable.

His videos are also perfectly tailored for viral growth. YouTubers have generated millions of views with compilation videos of his clips, and meme accounts on Instagram often repost his videos to drive quick engagement.

His success…

… suggests a wider shift toward authenticity across social media. Lame’s lo-fi clips often don’t even feature his voice, only facial reactions, which he refers to as a “global language.” In a sense, he’s like a modern day Charlie Chaplin.

  • Demand for authenticity on social media fueled the recent rise of BeReal, a social app that only lets users post once a day at random times, preventing them from curating highly stylized feeds.

But Lame’s rise proves how lucrative authenticity can be on mainstream social platforms, too.

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